Haven’t worked out in ages? Here are 3 strategies to motivate yourself again

Working out can be hard, but what’s even harder is working out after months of avoiding any form of fitness. Just trying to get back into the swing of things can be such a struggle that you take another huge break before trying again. To ease your fitness frustration and give you the motivation to get back on track, here are three science-backed ways that will help you make your workouts more enjoyable so you look forward to moving again.

First strategy: play upbeat music. We all know that a great playlist can make or break a workout, and science agrees: A recent study from the University of British Columbia found that insufficiently active people worked harder in their workouts and enjoyed them more when listening to upbeat music. That’s because it is a dissociative that can “draw your attention away from the body’s physiological responses to exercise” and give you the energy to push onward.

Second strategy: find a workout buddy (or a whole team!). Keeping up with a consistent habit is always easier when you have a friend or support group to help hold you accountable, and recently reported data from 1.2 million people in the US proves this to be true.

Third strategy: When it feels hard, try smiling. It might feel counterintuitive at the moment, but researchers have found that smiling during a workout (even if it’s forced) can make your exercise more enjoyable, and can even encourage you to keep going when you’re feeling the burn. So the next time you’re thinking of throwing in the towel, try throwing on a smile instead.

This story was one of the best from 2019, and we are happy to include it in our “12 Days of Optimism” as we get ready to welcome 2020!

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